Posted inArts & Culture

The Sea Lion

The Sea Lion, at the Duncan YMCA Chernin Center for the Arts. Ken Kesey had an interesting idea or two in his children’s book The Sea Lion: A Story of the Sea Cliff People: redo The Tempest with Caliban as hero and Ferdinand as villain and redo the Gospels with a Christ who’s not the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

To Bitter and Back

To Bitter and Back, Bailiwick Repertory. David Pevsner’s 85-minute mostly one-man musical features the LA entertainer’s notorious song “Perky Little Porn Star From Skokie”–performed nightly on the same stage during Naked Boys Singing! As directed by Randy Brenner, Pevsner exposes himself figuratively as well. With disarming honesty he depicts himself as a guy resigned to […]

Posted inMusic

Alan Jackson

Less than two months after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, mainstream country’s best singer sang a new song called “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” at the Country Music Association Awards. Within days the treacly soft-rock ballad had become a smash hit on country radio; in fact […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Last Seder

The Last Seder, Organic Theater Company. In Jennifer Maisel’s new play, Marvin Price has Alzheimer’s. His wife, Lily, is preparing to put him in a nursing home and sell their house. And the whole family, including the couple’s four daughters, will assemble for a last Passover together. Claire returns with her unassertive husband, Julia with […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

Why are you so reluctant to let anyone be bi? You have all these people writing to you saying they’re straight but like members of their own sex, but you never say, “Hey, maybe you’re bi.” You’re awfully quick to either affirm their self-image (Wanna Be a Cocksucker in last week’s column) or contradict them […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Battling Paddlers

Lake Michigan isn’t the only body of water around. The Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Trails Plan has mapped nearly 500 miles of often-forgotten canoe- and kayak-friendly waterways–and in the last two years, local governments have built 23 new launch sites. This weekend, 1,000 canoes will race 191/2 miles down the Des Plaines River in the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Made in Japan

This caustic satire about Japan’s amoral, profit-driven colonialism in Asia was released in 1993, before Japan’s economy collapsed, so the film has lost some of its edge. Takahashi (Henry Sanada) is an engineer dispatched by a construction giant to a military-run country–a thinly disguised Thailand–where his company is competing with another Japanese firm for a […]

Posted inArts & Culture


“Dangerous” is the operative word in this sense-assaulting multimedia performance–though the word’s meaning pitches back and forth throughout the production like a ship caught in a violent storm. “I got dangerously close to learning something” is the mantra repeated by each of the eight teenage performers in Skeptics–and the danger zone seems to be the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Slavic Soul Party!

Plenty of New York jazzers are out there seriously investigating Eastern European music these days–and in their midst Slavic Soul Party! have distinguished themselves in part by not taking themselves too seriously (hence the exclamation point). Still, as the quintet’s recent debut album, In Makedonija (Knitting Factory), proves, in the past five years the musicians […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Stripped, Circle Theatre. British playwright Stephen Clark, a disciple of Stephen Sondheim, has extensive experience writing books and lyrics for music theater. (He’s best known for the lyrics in Cameron Macintosh’s musical version of Martin Guerre.) This two-character play–a 90-minute meditation on contemporary relationships receiving its world premiere at Circle Theatre–would have made a startling […]

Posted inMusic

Spot Check

HASIL ADKINS 5/17, BEAT KITCHEN In a world where “authentic” has come to mean “museum-quality,” the only way to shake off those quotes is to be a genuine one-of-a-kind specialty item–a brother from another planet, as it were. West Virginia legend Hasil Adkins is a prime example: the raw, unpredictable rockabilly this one-man Magic Band’s […]

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Invitations to the Imagination

Bruce Conner at Alan Koppel, through June 14 Susan Barron at Printworks, through June 1 In addition to drawings, engravings, and assemblages, Bruce Conner makes films. His 1958 A Movie is a witty compendium of found footage of disasters–a torpedo exploding, a bridge collapsing–while his 1977 Take the 5:10 to Dreamland strikes a more delicate […]